Winter Quarters

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More About This Textbook


The forced flight of Mormons from Nauvoo, their arduous trek across Iowa, the rebuilding of community and economic life in transitional villages near the Missouri River, and the crucial part of women in a struggling frontier society are vividly portrayed in these moving and detailed journals and letters. When she began writing, Mary Haskin Parker Richards was twenty-two, a Mormon convert who had traveled from England to the American frontier separately from her parents, and a newlywed just parted from her husband, sent to Britain as a missionary. She lived with her in-laws, an extended family led by Willard Richards, also a leader of the Mormon church. Reorganized in the aftermath of the assassination of Joseph Smith, the church was making its way west under the guidance of Brigham Young, a Richards cousin. Mary Richards was a far less prominent Latter-day Saint, but she observed and portrayed, in intimate detail, the personalities and everyday activities of both renowned and obscure church members. The Iowa crossing was the most difficult portion of the Mormon trek west, and life at Winter Quarters and nearby camps was among the most trying of any period in Mormon history. Hundreds died; thousands more suffered sickness and privation. Mary Richards was often ill from typhoid, malaria, or muscular dystrophy, depressed, or lonely, and she spent many days nursing sick friends and relatives. She lived in wagons or tents while crossing Iowa and during the first winter alongside the Missouri, and she braided hats and did other work to earn income and sustenance. Yet, her expressive writing often conveys vitality, curiosity, and joy, as she goes to camp dances, visits with friends and family, writes poetry, and during walks on the prairie, delights in natural beauty. The writings begin with a memoir describing Mary Richards's life in England, early Mormon missionary work there, her family's conversion, and her voyage to America. The journals and letters pick up with
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Editorial Reviews

Richards, a young Mormon convert from England and a relative of one of the church's founders, Brigham Young, portrays the personalities and everyday activities of renowned and obscure church members at their Winter Quarters on their trek West. Her journals and letters detail the hardships and joys of pioneer life, and shed light on early Mormon social customs, including women's struggles with the newly public practice of polygamy. Includes b&w photos. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874215526
  • Publisher: Utah State University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2002
  • Series: Life Writings Frontier Women Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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